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Drama Mamas: Friends behaving badly

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at dramamamas@wow.com.

We often explain bad behavior in game (and on the internet in general) with anonymity (NSFW link). This just does not apply to the letters we answer this week. The friends behaving badly know the letter writers in "real life," and it is that phrase that seems to be the problem. If WoW were just a game and not real people interacting in real situations, it wouldn't cause real drama for us to tackle each week. This disconnect between proper behavior in the physical world and Azeroth just doesn't make sense when you know your guildies in both places. But sense or not, it happens -- and these letters are just two examples of a common problem.

Dear Drama Mamas,

I am in a very grave pickle. I have been the officer and raid leader in an ICC-guild for a while now, and the guild has up until now respected me. I say up until now because I did something I have regretted since - I invited a real-life friend of mine into the guild.

Since my friend has joined, he has been an absolute impossible thing to control. He believes that having an officer as his friend makes him immune to criticism, and has insulted offended and belittled just about everyone so far, including me. He thinks we're all rubbish, he thinks he can do better and he just sits there, refusing to raid, refusing to chip in, he just criticises endlessly. Sometimes it's simple sarcasm, sometimes it's been full-on rage rants in Ventrilo.

I have tried to talk to him, reason with him. I've told him that he never behaves like this in real life and there's no need for it in
WoW. I've explained he's making it hard for me to do my job in the guild. I've even warned him that if he continues on, I will kick him myself - but to no avail.

This is a guild I have helped build over many months, and am proud of being a part of, but my friend is utterly impossible and I do worry that if I kick him, this is going to be a big problem in our real-life friendship. But likewise, the guild knows he is a friend of mine and they see my unwillingness to do anything as a bad thing. Whichever way, I'm losing right now and I don't know where to place my chips next. I do feel like I'm on the verge of doing something I will probably regret for a long time to come, but I ask you, gorgeous Drama Mamas, is there any hope for a peaceful resolution here?

With much sadness,
Emotionally Conflicted Hunter

Hey there Drama Mamas!

I'll make this short and sweet.

I am an officer of a guild of people I know in real life, and the GM is my boyfriend. We've set out everything for the guild within the span of two weeks, from vent to a website to rules. However there's one thing you can't smooth out easily: inconsideration.

The thing is, even though it's listed clearly in the guild rules to be considerate of other people, in or out of guild, we still have people ninjaing things in heroic runs, even if it's all guildies, or not inviting others to dungeon runs even though they're tanks. In the time of two weeks, a group of friends who used to be tightly knit are isolating themselves from others.

The worst part however, is that it's hard to reprimand anyone about it. Both my boyfriend and I have been talking to people about it, but instead of dealing with it like mature individuals, they're throwing tantrums. We're being accused of unfairness, given excuses like "I need to need the green BoEs for my epic flying", and just flat out ignored as credible authority just because we know them in real life.

This whole situation is creating problems in my personal relationship with my boyfriend, and my friendships with the guild members as a whole. There is virtually no respect between members, and I can't take any more.

This is my plea to you Drama Mamas. How do I teach my friends and guildies respect?

Signed,
Depressed Druid

Drama Mama Robin: Hunter and Druid, your friends are not treating you like friends. So if there is any real-life fallout from this, it is their doing -- not yours. But fear of the fallout should not prevent you from acting according to your principles in-game. This isn't just your leisure time these "friends" are affecting; the good guildies and other players on your realm are suffering as well. You can't control your friends or teach them respect. You can show them their behavior is unacceptable by dissociating from them in game. Here are some things to try:
  • Tell them your out of game friendship is suffering. Tell them that your friendship is important to you and you think that your playstyles are unfortunately incompatible. Tell them that you'd rather not have a game come between you.
  • Ask them to leave. Your officer/leader status means you get to keep the guild and they need to find a new in-game home. Tell them that it would mean a lot to you if they leave the guild so that you can remain friends outside of Azeroth.
  • Use Real ID. This is exactly what Real ID is intended for: real friends who already know how to contact you in the physical world. Of course, if you have issues with the security of it, don't use it. But otherwise, you can just exchange Battle.net emails and tell your friends that you still hope to be able to chat with them regardless of what character or realm they are on. Is that a subtle hint that they might be happier on another realm? Not completely intentionally, but it sure would be nice if they took their funsucking ways elsewhere.
  • If all else fails, force the issue. If your friends won't leave on their own accord, you need to end the guild relationship yourself. Hunter, just like parenting, punishment doesn't work unless you carry it out. You need to /gremove your friend if he won't remove himself. Druid, you and your boyfriend should find a new guild home. I know it's hard to give up a guild you created, but a guild is only as good as the guildies in it. Let your friends continue their reputation as selfish ninjas as they obviously want to do. The damage has already been done to your guild name anyway.
You shouldn't have to spend your time parenting your friends. So don't. End your in-game relationships as amicably as possible and go back to enjoying the game on your terms.

Drama Mama Lisa: The creators of so-called "guilds of friends" all too frequently assume that real-life relationships preclude the need for ground rules. BZZZZT -- aggro, aggro, the mob's right over there. Buckle down with the other officers and write up some basic guidelines for conduct and loot, including clear consequences for what happens when lines get crossed. Post these for everyone to see (you do have forums, right?) and then enforce them without regard to offline relationships. Druid, you've said your guild established rules -- so apply them! The alternative, as you've seen, is not pretty.

Ultimately, this kerfuffle comes down to a lack of respect. If your friends wouldn't treat you this way to your face, why do they do it in game? It's not cute, and it's not funny. I realize that both of you, Hunter and Druid, are concerned about risking real-life friendships by addressing this situation. Unfortunately, I'd question whether those friendships are quite as solid as you'd thought, given these folks' utter disregard for your feelings and your hard work in the guild. If they can't wrap their brains around that, perhaps a little breathing room wouldn't be such a bad thing.

Drama Buster of the Week

If you are a guild officer or leader and are about to demote, kick or promote someone, warn guildchat before you do it. The impression people get from the action before you explain lingers on after even the most reasonable explanations. It can often mean the difference between zero drama and having to deal with a fracas caused by multiple kneejerk reactions.

Remember, your mama wouldn't want to see your name on any drama. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at dramamamas@wow.com.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

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